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After writing my last blog post about Amani and Witness, all I can think about is my trip to see them…..so you may get a few more stories out of me!

One of the things I enjoyed the most during my trip to Tanzania were the home visits.  The Compassion International country staff (locals who work for Compassion within Tanzania) took us into different homes each day while we were in their country.  We saw a wide variety of circumstances and surroundings.

We saw entire homes that could fit inside of my small, spare bedroom.  Most homes fit that category.  Homes with dirt floors.  Home with mud walls patched with ragged burlap food bags, yet decorated lovingly with items we would cast away.  Homes with no running water.  Homes with no beds.  Homes with one half-twin sized bed shared by all in the home.  Homes with no windows.  Homes with no doors.  Homes where the children stayed….alone.

Homes where family members suffered from AIDS and a crippled child struggled to drag his limp body alongside of us.  Homes where single mothers raised children alone.  Homes that had a HEIFER cow or goat present.  Homes hidden beneath a banana tree and within a foot of the home, a few straggly stalks of parched corn struggled to grow in the midst of drought.

Homes where pain was present each and every day.  Homes with sewage running through a crevice carved into the red dirt street just steps from the entryway.  Homes where the children walked through the sewage to walk that mile or two to the well — just so they can bring dirty water back….home.

Homes where genuine joy was present – in the midst of extreme difficulty.  Homes where pride of ownership gleamed as brightly as the smiles on the faces of those who lived there.  Homes where we were provided the refreshment of food – at the expense of their own personal meal for the following day.  Homes where we were presented with gifts that were made to sell for profit — yet sacrificially given to us out of love.  Homes where we were courteously escorted inside and welcomed with open arms.

Homes where Christ was exalted above all else.  Homes where the father prayed to be the best man he could be for his family.  Homes where aunts, grandparents and extended family offered meager housing for homeless or orphaned children.  Homes where praise and thankfulness for blessings (blessings?) were offered.

Visiting a home in a third world country is an amazing experience — one that will sadden your heart and gladden your heart all at the same time.  I didn’t get the idea that anyone wanted our pity.  Not in the slightest.  Instead, they wanted to share their lives with us – a mutual exchange of ideas and friendship.

It has occurred to me that all throughout the New Testament, Paul and the other apostles were continually asking for prayer for their fellow workers — for their fellow servants in Christ.  As I write this, it is so crystal clear to me that everyone I met in Tanzania is my fellow worker.  They serve Christ within their circumstances, as I do here in America.  It’s the word “fellow” I want to focus on — a term of equality.

It is my prayer that we will develop a mindset that does not look down upon the poor (even though I know we do so although with the best of intentions) — but that we will look up to them instead.  It is my prayer that we will see them as our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, created by God for a special purpose….a purpose which glorifies Him.

The poor know what it is like to survive….and to die.  They know what it is like to struggle in the midst of impossible circumstances.  They know what it is like to beat the odds.  They understand the value of an education….and kindness…and grief.  They know what it is like to totally trust God as their Sovereign King.

We can learn a lot from the poor.  Valuable things.  Things we don’t understand.

Witness' Amazing Smile

Amani's Handsome Smile

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